MP Francis Drouin still in Liberal caucus as Halifax incident is investigated
MP Francis Drouin, left, follows Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and his wife Francis, after moderating a talk about their rural life experience, at the federal Liberal national convention in Halifax on Saturday, April 21, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, April 23, 2018 5:34PM EDT
OTTAWA -- A Liberal member of Parliament facing what he calls an allegation following an incident in Halifax on the weekend remains a member of the government caucus, but so far no one is saying much about the matter.
The chief of staff to government whip Pablo Rodriguez says Francis Drouin, the member for the eastern Ontario riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, is still a Liberal MP.
"Francis Drouin is still a member of the Liberal caucus and retains all functions therein," Charles-Eric Lepine said in an email to The Canadian Press.
Several cabinet ministers declined to comment on the matter Monday when queried on their way into the House of Commons for question period. Drouin was not in his Commons seat for the day's proceedings.
Inquiries to the Prime Minister's Office were referred to Rodriguez's office.
Halifax police confirmed Monday they are investigating a report that a woman had been sexually assaulted, but it was not clear whether that report was linked to the allegation referenced by Drouin.
A spokeswoman said no charges have been laid in the incident, which took place sometime after 2 a.m. Saturday at the Halifax Alehouse pub. Police received the report of the alleged incident on Saturday afternoon, at 3:51 p.m.
Cst. Carol McIsaac reiterated Monday investigators with the integrated sexual assault investigative team are asking anyone with information in relation to the alleged sexual assault to call the police.
In a statement released to the media Sunday and sent to Liberal MPs and staff, Drouin said he wanted to address "reports of an incident" in Halifax.
"I can confirm that an allegation has been made," the statement said.
"I believe it is important for individuals to have a safe environment to come forward, share their stories, and be supported. While no charges have been laid against me, I am co-operating fully with the investigation."
On Saturday, a Liberal who asked not to be identified said Drouin was telling people at the convention that a woman had accused him of groping her backside at a bar near the convention site in downtown Halifax.
The alleged incident took place about 12 hours before the party held an hour-long seminar for MPs and staff called "From #MeToo to Never Again: Creating Safe Work Environments." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was one of the attendees at the session.
During that session, Trudeau said that while one seminar would not provide all the answers, it was a good step forward.